When an individual is called to the yoga of transformation, he comes with all of his strengths, weaknesses, developed and latent capacities, and habitual ways of dealing with things, as well as his familial, social, economic and educational background. These frame the starting point for the individual’s yogic practice. As he begins to shift to the standpoint of the witness of the nature, he begins to identify issues, patterns, concerns and obstacles to the practice. Some of these may be physical limitations, nervous disturbances, or emotional or mental blockages. Some may be preconceived ideas or emotional relations that shut him off in some way from a wider view and a more powerful action. Eventually he may come to recognise that in actual fact, there are deep and very specific issues that confront him and hinder his progress. For some it is vanity or ambition, for others, greed, for still others sexual pressures, for others a form of laziness or lack of dedication and concentration. It turns out that these things can be seen as the greatest opportunity for the individual and represent the unique set of circumstances that individual is called to work out as the road to the full realisation.

The Mother notes: “The nature of your difficulty indicates the nature of the victory you will gain, the victory you will exemplify in Yoga. Thus, if there is a persistent selfishness, it points to a realisation of universality as your most prominent achievement in the future. And, when selfishness is there, you have also the power to reverse this very difficulty into its opposite, a victory of utter wideness.”

“When you have something to realise, you will have in you just the characteristic which is the contradiction of that something. Face to face with the defect, the difficulty, you say, ‘Oh, I am like that! How awful it is!’ But you ought to see the truth of the situation. Say to yourself, ‘My difficulty shows me clearly what I have ultimately to represent. To reach the absolute negation of it, the quality at the other pole — this is my mission.”

“Even in ordinary life, we have sometimes the experience of contraries. He who is very timid and has no courage in front of circumstances proves capable of bearing the most!”

“To one who has the aspiration for the Divine, the difficulty which is always before him is the door by which he will attain God in his own individual manner: it is his particular path towards the Divine Realisation.”

“There is also the fact that if somebody has a hundred difficulties it means he will have a tremendous realisation — provided, of course, there are in him patience and endurance and he keeps the aspiring fame of Agni burning against those defects.”

“And remember: the Grace of the Divine is generally proportioned to your difficulties.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Chapter VI Growth of Consciousness, Difficulties and Pitfalls, pp. 116-117

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky He is author of 17 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.